Debasis Sen, Kingston: On the first sight one can mistake him to be a common Jamaican. But 70 years old Glen Mills is as famous as his two world-renowned athlete students – three times Olympic and World Champion Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake. It was Mills who inspired Bolt to clock 9:58 seconds and 19:19 seconds respectively in 100m and 200m to make him the undisputed fastest man in the universe. Mr Mills, who turned up at the Pegasus (the hotel in New Kingston where Kohli and his team are staying) briefly on Monday to meet West Indies coach Floyd Reifer was soon surrounded by a group of young fans who were at the lobby. As this correspondent approached him for an interview, the world-famous track and field coach agreed only on the basis that it has to be very brief and short. Here are the excerpts:
Sir, why does Jamaica keeps producing so many world-beating athletes over the years?
Glen Mills: It’s a relation to the program we have. We have a very good athlete program in Jamaica and the passion of the people for the sport is fantastic.
Post Usain Bolt era, how do you see the future of athletics particularly the sprint events in Jamaica?
Glen Mills: The future is very good. We have a lot of young talent that are developing.
Can you just talk us about who was more talented among the two B’s – Bolt or Blake?
Glenn Mills: (smiles) Well the performance speaks for itself as to who was more talented.
Sir, what prompted you to make Bolt run the 100m sprint because he used to run the 200m at the start of his career?
Glen Mills: Well he started running 200m but I noticed that he could always be successful in 100m because of his speed and the starts he gets. He himself also had that desire to run the 100m and so as he developed the opportunity came for him to start preparing for it and as you can see from his performance he was very good at it.
As a coach, what has been the most impressive aspect of Bolt’s career?
Glen Mills: Well his (Bolt’s) performance speaks for itself and his charisma as a sportsman has been emphatic and opened a new way for performers. He brought a lot of entertainment to the sport in addition to his performances and the world was witness to it.
Lastly, what has been the defining moment in your career as a coach?
Glen Mills: The 2009 World Athletics Championships has been my defining moment of my coaching career. It was at this event where Bolt achieved two milestones. The two milestone world-record performances from Usain speak for itself. They were easily some of the greatest performances in the sport of track and field, and I am delighted and gratified that I was able to witness them.